For most of the US (all of it?), summer has arrived. With 100+ degree temperatures, it’s important to stay hydrated. While drinking water is probably the best way to stay hydrated, you can get a surprising amount of water from the fruits and vegetables you eat. The water contents that I mention are taken directly from this SFGate Healthy Eating article.
Here’s a list of the top hydrating fruits:
Watermelon. Of course it made the list! Sweet, crisp, and refreshing, the red flesh of watermelon is 92 percent water. So eat a little over a cup of watermelon, and you’ve just had the equivalent of an 8 oz. glass of water.
Strawberries. Guess what? Strawberries are right up there with watermelon in terms of water content. Eat them plain, or add them to yogurt or a smoothie. Again, consuming just over one cup of strawberries means you’ve consumed about a cup of water.
Grapefruit. A scant 1 percent behind watermelon and strawberries, grapefruit offers incredible hydrating properties. Along with that, it also offers a great source of vitamin C. Try my Fresh Summer Salad, a salad that I posted almost exactly one year ago that includes both watermelon and grapefruit as key ingredients.
Cantaloupe. And just another percent behind grapefruit, it’s no surprise that the juicy orange flesh of cantaloupe packs a 90 percent water content. One of my favorite fruit combinations is strawberries and cantaloupe. But I also love this super hydrating salad that I posted a little over a year ago, too—my Sweet Melon Salad.
Peaches. These fuzzy-skinned stone fruits can also hydrate, at 88 percent water content. From what I’ve seen, they’re just coming into full ripeness at the grocery store, so be sure to pick some up. Does anyone have a peach-based salad they’d like to share? I also love to add them to strawberries for a tangy, sweet, and hydrating snack.
But if you think that fruit packs the most hydrating power, think again. Many vegetables exceed those levels by several percentage points. Read on to learn about five of the top hydrating vegetables.
Cucumbers! No big surprise here, but with a 96 percent water content, you can slice some up, splash them with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add a pinch of salt and grind some cracked pepper on them to just eat them up. For a real treat, mix them with strawberries in this Strawberry Cucumber Salad with Greek Yogurt recipe. You not only increase your water intake, but the Greek Yogurt and walnuts offer a great source of protein.
Lettuce. With the same 96 percent water content, eating lettuce of any type can help you increase your water consumption. Remember the general rule that the darker the lettuce, the more nutrients it packs, but as this article notes, don’t be afraid to try iceberg lettuce for its crispness and hydrating properties alone.
Zucchini. At 95 percent water content, zucchini shares the number three spot for super hydrating vegetables along with radishes and celery. While I know there are about a million ways to cook zucchini, this BuzzFeed article highlights just 35 of them. If you do a search on Saladmenu.com for zucchini, you’ll find another six recipes, bringing us up to 41.
Radishes. Along with a big dose of water, radishes give crunch and color to any salad. My Radish Cucumber salad combines radishes with cucumbers for a refreshing summer salad that can help quench your thirst.
Celery. Celery often gets in soups for its subtle flavor, but to benefit from its high water content consider just slicing it up and eating it on its own. For a little extra pizzazz, spread some peanut butter on it or dip it in some hummus. It makes the ordinary a bit more extraordinary and gives you some protein to stave off those hunger pangs. But don’t forget that celery is a must-have ingredient for anything having to do with Buffalo style chicken, like my Buffalo Chicken Salad with Dairy-free Ranch Dressing.
Do you have any fruit or vegetable dishes that you count on to quench your thirst during hot, dry summer months? If so, please share them with me and other Salad Menu readers so that we can enjoy them. Meanwhile, fill up a glass with water, add a few slices of fresh cucumber, turn on the fan, and try to stay cool in the warm, summer-like weather.